Be vocal about viral

7th May 2018

We're calling for viral meningitis sufferers and their family members to be ‘vocal about viral’ during this year’s awareness week to dispel myths and misconceptions that the viral form of the disease is mild, with those affected making a quick recovery


Our Viral Meningitis Awareness Week, between 7 and 13 May, seeks to raise awareness to inform the public, health professionals and employers about the true impact of the disease and the long-term problems it can bring.

Expert opinion suggests up to 6,000 people each year across the UK suffer from viral meningitis, an infection that causes inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and the spinal cord. The majority of cases happen during the warmer months.

Seek medical help

Because the symptoms of viral meningitis are similar to the more dangerous bacterial form of the disease, we’re urging sufferers to seek urgent medical help if you are concerned that you or someone you know might have the disease.

Dr Tom Nutt, our chief executive, said, “It’s vital that everybody understands how serious viral meningitis can be and that those suffering it, and their families and friends who are also affected, are not afraid to speak out about it and seek the support they need."

“For our Viral Meningitis Week we’re calling on everyone to be Vocal About Viral – and help raise awareness by talking about the disease.”

Signs and symptoms

Viral meningitis can affect anyone of any age. The signs and symptoms can include a severe headache, a dislike of bright lights, neck stiffness, nausea, vomiting and confusion.

It cannot be treated with antibiotics. Rehydration, painkillers and plenty of rest are the best remedy. Most people will make a full recovery. However, for some recovery can be slow and the after-effects long lasting.

These after-effects can be debilitating and just as likely to affect people’s day-to-day activities as those from bacterial meningitis, turning their emotional and economic lives upside down and affecting their ability to learn, play and work.

Read Arlene B's and Molly O's stories.

Free services

We’re also keen to promote our range of free services for sufferers of viral meningitis, including funding complementary therapies, counselling and peer support

Take a look too at our free viral meningitis factsheets

Read more about viral meningitis.

Have you had viral meningitis? Share your story and help raise awareness – be vocal about viral.

If you would like more information, contact our Helpline on 0808 80 10 388 or email